• Dec 14th 2006 at 8:19PM
  • 2
Living on Earth's Harry Goldstein has an incredible audio report on Corliss Orville Burandt, a "certified crazy" inventor whose story could easily be turned into a dramatic feature. Burandt, who controls patents from the early '90s describing a variable valve timing system that made motors more efficient, tried to ride a wave of venture capital to Easy Street. Instead, he suffered greatly. Honda's Intelligent VTec engine uses technology awfully similar to what is described in one of Burandt's patents, but Burandt hasn't received a dime in royalties. As Burandt told Goldstein, "I mean, I lost everything. I lost my house, I lost all my cars. I lost everything. I was fricking homeless. I lived in that goddamn car for awhile. I mean, how many inventors live in their prototypes?"
The Living on Earth website provides both a transcript and an audio stream of the story, and I don't want to spoil too much of the story so you can be amazed when you check it out for yourself. Goldstein's original story on Burandt, from Spectrum magazine in 2005, is slightly different. You can read it here.

[Source: Living On Earth, h/t to Ann]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Mike Tieman
      • 8 Months Ago
      Interesting story, I ran across another inventor who, has a better Idea when it comes to valve timing ..... pretty interesting stuff at omnivalves.com It will be interesting to see how they fare against the odds.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I preferred the earlier article. The advice by the patent attorney is sound: maintain control over your patent.

      A patent is a right to exclude others from making, using, selling or offering to sell an invention. It benefits society to ensure that inventors don't just sit on their invention. Graduated maintenance fees are a method that ensures the inventor takes active steps to preserve his right to exclude.

      If the inventor fails to pay these fees (which for a small inventor is 1/2 what a corporation pays) then the public benefits.

      This is more than reasonable.

      If only I had patented that method for exercising a cat with a laser pointer. US patent 5,443,036. I would own Google with the royalties.
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